Frozen Pomegranate Causes Hepatitis A in Australia

by Hannah Joy on Apr 9 2018 4:18 PM

Frozen Pomegranate Causes Hepatitis A in Australia
About seven people who consumed imported frozen pomegranate purchased at Coles supermarket, an Australian supermarket were diagnosed with hepatitis A.
Dr Vicky Sheppeard, director of communicable diseases at NSW Health, said “It was working with the state's Food Authority to determine whether the infection could be definitively linked to the Coles frozen pomegranates, despite the fact that each person affected had eaten the product.”

Entyce Food Ingredients company said it was "exercising abundant caution" adding a best before date up to and including March 21, 2020 on its 180 gram packets of Creative Gourmet Frozen Pomegranate.

However, this is not the first time that the company's products have been associated with hepatitis A.

The company recalled selling Creative Gourmet mixed berries in February 2015 and in June 2016 and also tested the imported berries if they have caused separate hepatitis A outbreaks.

Genetic testing showed a unique strain of hepatitis A in some cases, especially those who were from Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast.

The symptoms of hepatitis A includes nausea, vomiting, fever, yellowing of the skin, dark urine and pale stools. The symptoms take 15 to 50 days to develop and is caused by a virus that present in contaminated food or through poor hygiene.

Dr Sheppeard said if people have consumed frozen pomegranate from Coles in the past two weeks can get a hepatitis A vaccination.

NSW Food Authority chief executive Lisa Szabo said, “The outbreak appeared to be linked to imported frozen pomegranate. Fresh pomegranate has not been implicated, nor have Australian-grown frozen pomegranate products."

Entyce Food Ingredients said the recall was isolated to just that one product. All the products have been tested till date and have been cleared and were found to be not linked to Hepatitis A.

Dr Kerry Chant, NSW chief health officer said that there is an urgent need to issue a health warning against consuming the fruit.


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